Last updated on March 27th, 2020 at 09:48 pm
Puerto Princesa is the capital of Palawan. The beaches aren´t very popular in the downtown area. Puerto Princesa is popular for the Underground River, one of the 7 wonders of the old world and UNESCO Site. There are many things to do in Puerto Princesa apart from the Underground River. Since we stayed in the city part of Puerto Princesa we used the time to work and to watch and join the people in their local life.
Puerto Princesa Travel Guide
How to get to Puerto Princesa
There are various ways you can go to Puerto Princesa. It will always depend on where you’re traveling from flights, vans and bus. We will explain them below.
How to get to Palawan by plane
The fastest way to reach Puerto Princesa is by plane. There are flights from all over the country and the world that land at Puerto Princesa International Airport from airlines like Cebu Pacific, AirAsia and Philippine Airlines. If you’re coming from Manila and Cebu, you can reach Puerto Princesa in an hour and 15 minutes on the plane. There are also flights within Palawan from Puerto Princesa to El Nido that only last 30 minutes. If you’re coming from Boracay you can book flights to Puerto Princesa.
How to get to Puerto Princesa by boat
There are scheduled boat trips from Manila to Puerto Princesa if you want to travel on the sea. This is a much cheaper option than flying but obviously takes longer than a plane. Every Thursday, Negros Navigation has trips to Puerto Princesa while the Super Ferry goes to the island every Friday. The trip takes around 18-22 hours.
Travel Tip: Click here to know prices and schedule to book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
Best time to visit Palawan
This island destination in the Philippines is best enjoyed during the dry season. During this time, visitors can go on different tours, swim in the beautiful waters and enjoy the sun in Puerto Princesa. The best time to visit Puerto Princesa is around October to June since the rain usually falls in the middle of the year. However, Palawan’s wet season does not have typhoons that directly hit the island so going on those months might still be fun.
Transportation around Puerto Princesa
The island of Palawan receives many tourists every year as one of the hottest destinations in the Philippines. So, you can expect going around the island to be relatively easy and surprisingly cheap. You can ride the jeepney or the tricycle both costing 10 PHP for the first 4 km. Cars, scooters and vans are also available for rent. Those who want to go island hopping can get on the many boats that travel daily in and out of Palawan for 1,250 PHP. If you want to book a day trip with the tuk tuk to explore all the things to do in Puerto Princesa will cost you 700-900 PHP.
Wifi and Internet Connection in Puerto Princesa
If you are a digital nomad like us or you need to do some work online, do it in Puerto Princesa where the connection is more reliable than the other places in Palawan. We spent many hours working to make sure we can enjoy El Nido and the other places around Palawan like Port Barton and Balabac.
Puerto Princesa will offer the best connection that you will find in Palawan. You will get strong wifi in hotels and coffee shops. Also data works properly with 4G with Smart and Globe. Once you leave Puerto Princesa for the other destinations the connection will be weak in El Nido, Balabac, Port Barton and Coron.
ATMs and Currency in Palawan
The Philippines, like many Asian destinations, are much cheaper especially for tourists coming in from Western countries. The country uses the Philippine Peso for monetary transactions, where $1 USD = 54 PHP, more or less. Click here to check the exchange rate between your country and the Philippines. Since Palawan is already an urbanized and frequently visited destination in the Philippines, you can expect to find plenty of ATMs all over the province. Puerto Princesa has several ATMs by MetroBank, Union Bank, Philippine National Bank (PNB), Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
Daily budget for travel in Puerto Princesa
You can visit Puerto Princesa even with a limited budget. There are plenty of food, accommodations and activities that you can try in Palawan during your trip. A decent meal in the island in a local eatery can go for as low as 70 PHP while eating at a restaurant can cost around 230 PHP a meal with drinks. If you’re eating at a resort restaurant, you can pay up to 500 PHP for a very hearty meal. A bottle of local beer like San Miguel Pale Pilsen or Red Horse goes for 40-80 PHP.
If you’re planning to go on tours, there are all sorts of packages for various companies that you can enjoy. A boat tour with a group can start at 1,000 PHP or joining Underground River tour can cost less than 2000 PHP.
You won’t run out of accommodation options when you visit Puerto Princesa. There are guest houses, hostels and inns that cost around 700-1,500 PHP while bigger resorts cost around 1,700-5,000 PHP. Seafront establishments with excellent views and ambience start at 7,000 PHP. Aside from all those amazing options, you can also book an entire house or apartment with AirBnB! We love the choices they have in Puerto Princesa that start from as low as 700 PHP per night. Cool, right? What’s even cooler is you can Click here to get a great deal off your first booking with AirBnB!
Read here where to stay in Puerto Princesa
Things to do in Puerto Princesa
A few of the things to do in Puerto Princesa are inside the city. You can book a tricycle for a day trip for 700 PHP to check the main tourist spots in Puerto Princesa. Other things to do in Puerto Princesa like beaches or Underground River will require you to take transportation outside the city.
1. Eat Crocodile Sisig
There are other few things here that you won’t see in other places in the Philippines like the Crocodile Sisig. That was a new find for us! And since we are from Angeles City we had to try and compare. It was great since we love it sisig.
2. Visit Local Markets
Some of our favorite things in every new city is visiting local markets. You will find the best prices in a local atmosphere. There are fruits, juices and local carinderias. The New Market in Puerto Princesa is very close to the Bus Terminal. If you are dropping by, there is no excuse for not visiting.
3. Visit Underground River
One of the most popular thing to do when you travel Palawan is visiting Puerto Princesa underground River. It was a part of the 7 wonders of the old world for its natural beauty. How go there? You need to head to Sabang which is 2 hours driving from Puerto Princesa. You can book tours starting from 1,300- 1,500 PHP and you can DIY for 1,000 PHP. ($1=50 PHP). Puerto Princesa’s underground river is magical, it is under the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will find birds and monkeys in the watershed. The trip will be amazing and fulfilling because the underground river is one of the longest navigable rivers in the world.
When visiting the Underground River you can also enjoy Sabang Beach if you are staying in the area. It’s a nice beach to spend the day.
4. Palawan Special Battalion
If you’re fond of history, you would surely love this place as it en-captures a moment in Philippine’s history. The museum has a rich world war II that you may enjoy, very informative and very entertaining.
5. Sunset Baywalk Park
Puerto Princesa’s sunset is really beautiful. Take a walk on Baywalk Park, eat, and enjoy the sunset at the bay. Don’t forget to take pictures.
6. Go to Dos Palmas Island
The Dos Palmas Island is a secluded sanctuary just across Honda Bay. Dos Palmas Island is very relaxing and tranquil. Also, you’d love the various species of corals, fish, and others on the island. Surely, an island that is an experience of its own. Click here if you want to book a luxury experience in Dos Palmas!
7. Whaleshark in Puerto Princesa
If you are lucky, you might be able to spot a whale shark in Puerto Princesa. It might be harder for you to find whale sharks in Puerto Princesa but the best season is from April to November
More Things to do in Puerto Princesa
8. Visit Nagtabon Beach
Nagtabon Beach is really a charmer because it is not famous yet, although soon, it will be. Also, you could surf on Nagtabon. You’ll also love the crystal clear water that’s also really loved by tourists.
9. Enjoy Kamia Bay Inflatable Island
Unleash the kid in you and visit the Kamia Bay’s Inflatable Island. Jump, slide and just have fun. The island has lots of other different activities as well like kayaking, eco tours, and many more. Entrance fee is 600 PHP included buffet lunch.
10. A Tour with Fireflies in Iwahig
The fireflies in Iwahig are really beautiful and magical. Honestly, this might be a seasonal opportunity. There are nights that there are only a few fireflies that would make the trip bad. Otherwise, it will be an experience of your life. You can click below to book tours starting from 1300 PHP.
11. Refresh at Tibag Falls
The Tibag falls is actually not high but is composed of cascades. It is an instagrammable place that would surely leave you in awe. Also, there’s a sense of exclusivity from this place that you’ll love. There is no entrance be and it will take you 30-40 minutes to get there from the bus terminal around 50 PHP will cost the transportation.
12. Zipline, Trail Walk & Spelunking
There are tours available that are catering to adventurers who would love to walk on a trail to observe the richness of biodiversity Puerto Princesa has. Also, spelunking is a good idea as Puerto Princesa has lots of good caves. Lots of travel tours also have zip lines that are surely an adventure of itself. The fee for the zip line is 150 PHP.
13. Go to Arena Island Turtle Sanctuary
The Arena Island Turtle Sanctuary prides itself on being a beautiful place, a sort of a haven that you could relax into. You will also enjoy the food being served in the place. If you’re lucky, you might encounter a turtle egg hatching.
14. Hike up Mt. Magarwak
Mt. Magarwak is very near from the Bayan. You could go here on a thirty-minute ride. The hike is also relatively easy but the views atop are irreplaceable. Also, the ambiance of the place is relaxing so you won’t feel pressure from hiking at all. Click here to book the activity with Klook!
15. Drink craft beer at Palaweño Brewery
The Palaweno Brewery has lots of different beers that you may want to try. Tourists and locals visit this place because of the friendly staff and their beers. There are also wings, fries and many more.
16. Visit Iwahig Prison one of the most idyllic prisons in the country
Remove all your pre-assumed notions of prisons and visit Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm. You would find prisoners selling souvenirs, dancing and engaging with tourists. You don’t need to feel alarmed because there are still security measures in place. It is just a great opportunity to find humanity in your travel/trip in an unusual place. It just 15 kilometers far from the city. You will have to use private transportation to get there and there is no entrance fee.
Where to Stay in Puerto Princesa
For our staying we chose a new hotel The Colonial a small boutique hotel close to the beach. We loved staying close to the beach for sunset, sunrise and especially when we are traveling with Han since he loves it. The hotel is so beautiful and we love it the restaurant with the small pool. Food was delicious and internet working amazing before our trip to Balabac.
If you are wondering about the staff we have no words for them. We were leaving at 3 am and they took care of us. Since wake up call and also they prepared an amazing Filipino breakfast for takeaway. What a surprise!
Read here where to stay in Puerto Princesa
Image from Booking
Loved by its warm and friendly staff, Sheebang Hostel’s Rooms have air-conditioned units, private bathrooms with toiletries, and free wifi. The breakfast served in the hostel is continental. It is also very near to Puerto Princesa Airport, only 1.9 km away. The bar is also the favorite place of guests to hang out. A night in their Double Room with Private Bathroom costs about $20 USD.
SHEEBANG HOSTEL is located at F. Ponce de Leon Road, Barangay San Pedro, Palawan, Puerto Princesa City, Philippines. Click here to check their availability and book your stay!
PRINCESA GARDEN ISLAND RESORT AND SPA
Images from Booking
Having pride with their large outdoor pool, Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa is also a large resort featuring rooms, suites, villas with free WiFi, fitness center, three restaurants, and on-site water sports facilities for guests to love. Their rooms, suites, and villas all have a flat-screen TV, a safe, a seating area and a private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries, and equipped with air-conditioning units. The three restaurants differ in their food offers. Tomato and Basil Cuisina Italiana offers Italian cuisine. While local and international cuisine is served at Rice. Lastly, Sala Lobby Lounge offers cocktails and drinks. Breakfast is also a buffet that guests will enjoy. A night in their Princesa Classic Room costs about $140 USD.
PRINCESA GARDEN ISLAND RESORT AND SPA is located at Barangay Bancao-bancao, Caniguiran, Palawan, Puerto Princesa City, Philippines. Click here to check their availability and book your stay!
AZIZA PARADISE HOTEL
Images from Booking
Featuring a vibrant and lively atmosphere, Aziza Paradise Hotel entertains by arranging live bands on site in the evenings. Each room is equipped with air-conditioning units, a flat-screen TV, a balcony/terrace, and a private bathroom. Guests really enjoy the swimming pool as it is very well maintained and very well designed. Also, the staff is very helpful and accommodating. A night in their Deluxe Room with breakfast costs about $100 USD.
AZIZA PARADISE HOTEL is located at BM Road, Barangay San Manuel, Puerto Princesa City, Philippines. Click here to check their availability and book your stay!
You can book an entire house or apartment in Puerto Princesa with AirBnB! Click here to get a great deal off your first booking with AirBnB!
Food to try in Palawan
We already mentioned crocodile sisig as one of our unique finds in Puerto Princesa, but the island has more to offer when it comes to food. Here are our top picks of food to try in Puerto Princesa:
Enjoy the seafood in Palawan
A trip to any coastal destination will not be complete without trying out the seafood. In Puerto Princesa there are many different kinds of top quality fish like tuna, blue marlin and seabass. Other fresh catches include crab, lobster, shrimp and squid. Just thinking about all that makes my stomach grumble!
Tamilok is an exotic dish made from woodworms collected from mangroves. This soft, slimy delicacy actually tastes like oysters and are eaten fresh. Some are even fortunate enough to eat tamilok straight from the tree!
Have a plate of lato
Lato is a popular side dish in most beaches in the Philippines. Known in English as “green caviar,” lato is a seaweed that’s often served with salt or vinegar and perfectly matches grilled and fried food. It’s soft and strangely crunchy, a definite must-try in Puerto Princesa!
A real classic during the summer in the Philippines is halo-halo (literally “mix-mix”), a refreshing snack typically served in a tall glass that’s made with crushed ice, sugar, sago (similar to tapioaca pearls), gulaman (jelly-like dried agar), bananas, sweet beans and pinipig (pounded and toasted glutinous rice). Ice cream or milk flan is usually added on top and milk is poured before serving. Eating halo-halo in a hot summer day is one of the best things to do in Puerto Princesa!
Festivals in Palawan
Baragatan sa Palawan
If you’re staying in Palawan on the third week of June, you’re just in time for the Baragatan sa Palawan festival! This week-long fiesta is a celebration of the province’s rich culture and history and honors Palawan’s daily life. It is basically a thanksgiving festival on one of the world’s best islands where numerous activities are held. There are beautiful floats, photo contests, sports competitions, quiz bees, beauty pageants and concerts throughout the week of Baragatan.
Pagdiwata Tribal Ritual
Want a meaningful, deeply rooted experience in Palawan? Then head on out to Aborlan in December and witness locals give thanks with a spiritual event during the full moon. Pagdiwata is a combination of a thanksgiving festival and a healing ceremony. Aroblan also has many beaches and mountainous areas for you to explore if ever you come visit.
Another festival that truly honors Palawan’s heritage and local culture is Tarak, an event that celebrates the indigenous people of the island. The name combines two of the most important indigenous tribes in the province of Palawan, the Tagbanua and the Batak tribes. The ritual dances and activities are also held in Aborlan and is also celebrated in the full moon, but this time in January. Traditional tribal dances, woven clothing and handmade accessories are highlighted during Tarak and are meant to cast away evil spirits and invokes god’s blessings.
You can book an entire house or apartment with AirBnB! Click here to get a great deal off your first booking with AirBnB!
Travel Tip: Click here to know prices and schedule to book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
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